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BILL WENCE/Songs That Make Me Think About You: One of the grandfathers of DIY music, Wence wears just about all the hats you can wear in the music business and wears them all well. Where else are you going to find Charlie McCoy playing harp on "Beyond the Sea"? Mostly making his bones in Nashville over the last 40 years, Wence is a muso throughout. He can call his first call pals and have them show up for a sweet off the clock date like this. He doesn't write them all here but he makes all the songs his own and they aren't tunes that have been beaten to death to get this set placement in gift shops. As alt.country as anything the youngsters are turning out, this set that swings wide of the margins is a honey throughout nonetheless. Check it out.

FOREIGN RESORT/New Frontiers: This bunch of Dane pomo rockers want to keep it dark but it sound strangely like Laura Branigan's "Self Control" would have sounded if it was given a free hand on an indie label. They seem to have found the sweet spot where noir and commercial intersect giving Alexandra Patsavis a chance to place this in a commercial for a neo Vegas hip hotel.

ERIC VLOEIMANS/Oliver's Cinema: Sorry I missed this Dutch treat when the trio was playing virtually in my back yard. Inspired by classic feeling Euro café jazz, if this bunch wasn't mere tykes when Leonard Cohen did his "I'm Your Man" tour, having them as the opening act would have been an inspired choice. A trumpet/accordion/cello trio, there's something so classy yet engaging about their sound that it's the kind of thing you want playing when you invite that special someone over for dinner. Never pedestrian or precious, this trio plays with vigor among it's subtlety keeping you guessing and always tuned in. Killer stuff.

DAVID SHELBY/Oh Yeah: A cat that works the Detroit/Nashville nexus? Rust belt country rock? A guy that actually calls a song "Podunk" on a country infused date? Shelby is forging new ground where none was thought to exist. With loads of traditional Nashville trappings on board, Shelby is making music for country America that's been hammered by Walmart with no room for turning back. It's like Hank Jr. teamed up with Bob Seger. This is only an ep so he knows about leaving the crowd wanting for more.

SCHUGREN SCIALLA CHARETTE DiRUBBO/Wake Up!: A bunch of first rate jazz stars of tomorrow band together putting the sax man first since this is a blowing date and serve up organ jazz from tomorrow as the blowing mixes with world while it retains the bop/post bop edge that comes with a smoking blowing date. The groove don't quit and the beat can't be beat. A solid winner throughout, this set doesn't restrict itself to hipsters only---anyone with wide open ears is invited. Well done.

NIR NAAMAN/Independence: Produced as part of George Cables late career bounce, this sax man's debut is a testimony to Naaman being a hot, new player with something to say that he believes in. A straight ahead bop/post-bop blowing date that sounds like it could have been a hidden Blue Note/Verve session from back in the day, it's still forward thinking and all about the playing. Packing the set with mostly originals, Naaman has a feel for real jazz and blows it with the best of them. Hot stuff.

PURE/Loveskills: If Nina Perrsson's band were to hook up with a bunch of pomo rockers influenced by Phillip Glass, the result would probably sound something like this psych pop date. This is the soundtrack of a high school rave where the parents are gone for the whole weekend.

STEVIE NICKS/24 Karat Gold-Songs From the Vault: What's it take to get classic Nicks to come back to us? Apparently a trip down memory lane with a album full of anthems timed to be a souvenir from the current Fleetwood Mac reunion. And she gives us truth in packaging. It feels like the best Nicks album since the 90s came upon us is a revitalized trip down memory lane with songs from well back in the day that are just escaping from Mucha embossed cover journals now. You might have to be a boomer or a regular attendee at Steviefest to really appreciate this but this set serves those mighty niches well.

DEL SOL STRING QUARTET/Peter Sculthorpe Complete String Quartets: An avant garde classical ensemble from San Francisco recording non European classical music for a label in Virginia? Where can we go with this? Right to the headphones! An audaciously ambitious release, this set is a double cd with an accompanying blu ray disc giving you the entire session in hyper audio which really brings out the nuance. Sculthorpe, and impressionist into genocide as much as he was into the Great Barrier Reef, left a legacy of progressive, contemporary classical works just aching to be placed in the right hands like those recording here. With a didjerido virtuoso lending a hand, the results are mind blowing. This might not be your granddad's classical set but it could be the stuff that brings you into the tent. Yes, malcontents, this might be just what you'd expect from a kid growing up in Tazmania during one of those great, worldwide depressions from back in the day. This is one wild ride!.

FRANK LOWE QUARTET/Out Loud: The records that never escaped from the vaults finally gets a release in a limited edition, 2 lp set with only 550 copies pressed. Notable for a lot of reasons, this release prominently features Joseph Bowie who would go on to lead Defunkt and was recently honored at a Dutch dance festival since his vision of funk powers a lot of contemporary stuff now. Including every track recorded by Lowe's line up of Bowie, William Parker and Steve Reid, this is solid dose of what it was really like back in the day when boundaries were still freely and fearlessly being pushed. The pressing might be realistically sized but the niche will be served.

SEAN COSTELLO/In the Magic Shop: A guitar slinger that should have gone the distance "sees" the release of his previously unreleased 2005 studio album that finds him kicking it out with more blue lights in the basement gusto than a white boy should have. Felled by bipolar problems, the proceeds from this set are going to bipolar research which will hopefully keep future ‘mad geniuses' from pulling their own plugs to stop the demons from haunting them. Whether you buy it for the good cause or the good music, this is loaded with the kind of killer stuff fans of blues guitar slingers crave.

Volume 38/Number 357
October 23, 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record

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